To evaluate, with a prospective observational study, whether continuous hemodiafiltration using a polymethyl methacrylate membrane hemofilter (PMMA-CHDF) is effective for prevention and treatment of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) on patients with severe acute pancreatitis (SAP). The study was carried out in the general intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital. Seventeen consecutive patients with SAP were treated in the intensive care unit and underwent PMMA-CHDF whether or not they had renal failure. Blood level of interleukin (IL)-6, as an indicator of cytokine network activation, and intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) were measured daily to investigate their time-course of changes and the correlation between the two. The blood level of IL-6 was high at 1350+/-1540 pg/mL on admission to the ICU. However, it significantly decreased to 679+/-594 pg/mL 24 h after initiation of PMMA-CHDF (P<0.05), and thereafter decreased rapidly. Mean intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) on admission was high, at 14.6+/-5.3 mm Hg, with an IAP of 20 mm Hg or over in 2 of 17 patients, showing that they had already developed IAH. The IAP was significantly lower (P<0.05) 24 h after initiation of PMMA-CHDF, and subsequently decreased. There was a significant positive correlation between blood level of IL-6 and IAP, suggesting that PMMA-CHDF improved vascular permeability through elimination of cytokines, and that it thereby decreased interstitial edema to lower IAP. Sixteen of the 17 patients were discharged from the hospital in remission from SAP without development of complications. Continuous hemodiafiltration using a polymethyl methacrylate membrane hemofilter appears to be effective for prevention and treatment of IAH in patients with SAP through the removal of causative cytokines of hyperpermeability.